Sunday, January 30, 2011

Casting up the Sci fi bases

Been casting and mould making today... got a half dozen or so of the squad bases casted up.  That and drinking beer, cooking gourmet sausages, making tiramisu and swimming in the sea to get away from the heat.  Sydney is a great place for summer weekends.

The cast up deep dish base I made works a treat- the caps pop in and hold nicely- plus I discovered the caps fit perfectly on to a regular round plastic base.  The deep dish bases can be picked up even with a heavy marine on it, just like I planned.  Chuffed to bits!  So eager to paint them I forgot all about the tiramasu in the fridge.  Oh well, miniatures over calories is a good thing I guess.

So the first six are based, though the paint job is a while off being finished, and already I am feeling the glow of a project coming together.  I cannot wait to sit back and look at the whole team finished now.  Quite a bit of work to go, but damn its a fun project!

I am thinking of getting some 3D models printed for resin casting now.  Hell, since I am a 3d artist on one hand and a miniature sculptor on the other I probably should make some 3d sculpted miniatures or busts at some stage.

I also find myself toying more with ideas for a science fiction figure range after I finish my current batch of comissioned sculpts.  Sort of NASA at war, rather than anything that would fit in the 40k universe... besides IP issues, its either 40k gothic, pulp era retro, Aliens or manga... that leaves a gaping hole of 70's and early 80's sci fi.  Space opera stuff.  Taking a bit of Chris Foss inspiration to bed to flick through.

Anyway, pics shortly.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kill Team Charlie recruits

Kill Team Charlie - Reaper Chronoscope bot, Hasslefree female marine
Citadel C100 space marines and Rogue Trader Adventurers Assasin
Okay, so my favourite project just got a shot in the arm after this weeks Stripathon.  Here is a family pic of the team, missing the six dudes rocking out in a jar of dettol right now.  Yay.  More scrubbing.

C100 ultra rare Female Marine, C100 Marine
Okay, I am just messing with you... there was no female marine in the c100 line.  But there is now, thanks to the wonders of green stuff.  The model on the left was made by taking the model on the right and carefully whittling out the torso and head section.  the key word here is whittle - only work with a brand new blade and peel away thin layers at a time, like scraping off tin foil- never apply force, as your knife will snap and probably take out an eye.  Always cut away from you and use safety goggles.  A round blade is safer than a pointed xacto for this job.  A dremmel is better!
Anyway, the face and torso was scratch built using greenstuff over a bent paperclip.  I widened her hips too, to give a better female proportion.  I also added some more tech and wires to break up the model a bit more- I have several of these figures that need to look different.  I will start the next one with correcting the pressed down nose cone... it looks like the master was not reinforced and got squished a bit in vulcanizing... all the other marines masks are sharp and pointy.

C100 marines
Not sure you can see it, but her face is pink and scarred on one side from a laser burn.  Forget bullets in THIS universe!

Converted Rogue Trader Assassin, Hasslefree Libby female marine
Two more recruits are Libby, from Hasslefree and a broken Assasin from the Rogue Trader Adventurers.  She is actually quite rare, but arrived in a bitz lot - so languished in my bits box for a long while.  The original owner had converted her to be a superhero by shaving off her backpack and shuriken.  What better job than joining a Rogue Trader inspired team!  I fixed up her damaged torso with GS and upgraded her arsenal.  I also improved her weaponry (boom tish).  Note her arm weapon is a copy of the one built onto the captain figure from the c100 range.  A cool weapon that should have stayed in 40k!

The Hasslefree conversion is a no brainer... anyone can stick a back pack on her and she is a great stand in 40k model.  However I wanted to go a bit deeper into the conversion, trying to integrate her into the look and feel of the c100 range.  Kevs sculpt is so clean and crisp, and just aching for smooth shading!  (Do grab yourself one, its a great figure).  As you can see I took the chainsaw arm from a c100 death guard and am currently constructing a C100 style 'wobbly' backpack and another cool fist mounted weapon arm.  A little bit more work to go on her before she joins the team, but you can see the gist of it coming along.  Note the under support layer I am building is a mix of milliput and green stuff - giving a rock solid support so the arm is nice and solid for gameplay.  Mixing the two putties allows you to file and drill the result well.  Great for armour.

See ya!

Daves Blue and Orange Period

Dwarf Adventurers - Three breasted, Chaos, Zombie, Ninja, Demon Dwarf.
Cyclops mutant Orc

You know how it is, you have a bunch of colours on your wet palette and you start looking around for other things to use up the paint.  This week it was blue and orange.

One tip today is the brilliance on Flow Improver.  A 20:1 mix water to Liquitex Flow improver dropped into citadel paint will make it instantly fluid and stop it clinging to your brush!  You know how when you do fine details it just likes your brush better than your model?  Flow Improver.

  Too much, however and your surface will become fuzzy as the paint fails to grab itself and cracks...  some accuse reaper master series of having too much flow improver because of this effect.  I never basecoat with Reaper Master Series, instead going with VMC or Citadel.  (For shading glazes, they are brilliant though because of the huge range of colours).

Failing that, use dish soap instead.  It had the added benefits of being cheap and helping intermix citadel and VMC paints effortlessly.  I use a 1:20 or higher ratio of washing up liquid in a reaper dropper bottle.

Monster Starter Set Lesser Goblin

As you can see, my labour of love Monster Starter set has gotten a little attention.  I got the empty box off EBAY this week - sent all the way from Germany.  Its great as a reference for colours- not a green orc or goblin in sight!

Fantasy adventurers and White Dwarf Personalities attack the Gazebo

In 1982 Citadel was producing 'preslotta' figures in a line called fantasy adventurers for PCs and fiend factory for baddies.  Everything was totally geared towards role playing, because at that time GW was an importer of Dungeons and Dragons.  The idea that wargames with rules that require lots of figures sells lots of figures had not yet dawned.

I picked up a few figs from the line that I fancied, and quickly realised that they where not as bad as I first thought, and many had oodles of charm.  Whilst the fiend factory floundered around with dodgy looking monsters, fantasy adventurers was scoring home run after home run.

FA18-2 Female Cleric with Mace
This figure, apart from the bug eyes (which as you can see I am having trouble getting to look natural) has oodles of character and is, as you can see, just perfect for classic old school dungeon bashes.  You may also note that the character carries two crude wooden crucifixes.  Christian uproar against D&D was hitting a peak at this point, and shortly after the crucifix was replaced by an Anhk... most famously in the dungeon starter set, which not only was released with the crucifix holding priest replaced by one with an ahnk, but the box art was crudely adjusted too!  Good luck finding those collectors items!

Anyway, at this point in history, GW was totally down with JC, he even appears on the shields of some of the paladins of this era.  Speaking of which...

Paladins, Lawful knights and Clerics.  Gain Hymn attack +3.
These are a few work in progress pics of whats floating around my painting table.

Goodly Knight of Law, and converted paladin
The figure on the right (neither are finished) had his crucifix removed and smoothed to allow me to paint a design upon it.  I chose a naked depiction of justice, as I pictured the character as a black knight who does the right things, but in wrong ways.  I replaced his tonsure with a Brian Blessed beard and hair.  The sword is from Reaper weapons packs (which I always think are expensive but damn it, they are so convenient that it pays for itself in no time).

Anyway, I am having a blast collecting and restoring this range, though I am in no hurry... the set is quite extensive and having a resurgence in popularity on ebay.  If you have some tucked away, now is a good time to sell.  Especially to me.  You at least get to see pictures of them here, right?

White Dwarf Personalities boxed set (and doubles)
Speaking of ebay, you know those bidding wars that go crazy, then, for no reason at all, another identical item pops up like a few days later and no one bids... well... this is my lucky strike right here.  The two figures to the left are GW founder, Eidos owner (Lara cha-ching Croft) and writer of Fighting Fantasy books- Ian Livingstone himself.  The goblin and his mate need no introduction I am sure.  Well, after months of trying to track down the set bit by bit, watching bidding wars go crazy over two of the figures, I landed a whole mint condition, never painted box of the buggers for small change.  Go figure.  These need neutralizing, polishing and priming ASAP, after many years in a cardboard box, lead rot is a threat here.  Right down the front you can see The original White Dwarf himself.

Just goes to show you bargains do slip through the net.

Oh yes, I will be flogging off my cleaned and doubles of these soon on Ebay.  I will post when.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Last nights strip show

Last night I plucked up the courage to empty out my stripping jars and scrub clean everything.  Its been months since I did this, so I had no idea what lurked within.  After many hours I finally ended up with 160 shiny  miniatures and a few surprises.  It was like christmas!

First up, Jiff.  Yes, Jiff cream cleaner.

You know that black, sticky gunge that sticks to all your tools whilst your cleaning minis and forms a film over everything?  Jiff.  Instantly lifts the gunge and removes the dettol smell.  Secondly, since its alkaline, it works on the figures too- neutralising any acids and halting lead rot.  Its helps remove the stickiness and last scraps of paint.  It also renders your kitchen sink use-able again!  You heard it here first peeps.  Give them a good rinse in clean water afterwards to remove any lingering chemicals before priming though!

Emerging from the primordial soup was a complete adventurer starter set to compliment my monster starter set, a bunch of new recruits for C100 space marine Kill Team, Jes Goodwins Manticore, Griffon and Ogres, a fist full of Kev Adams Goblins, Ral Partha Cyclops and enough preslotta adventurers to fill a D&D manual.  My first talisman toad (armoured) and three copies of the same orc creature from the white dwarf personality boxed set.  Doh.  Off to ebay for you sonnies.

One big surprise.  A really ugly figure covered in enamel from a job lot cleaned up to reveal itself to be a gem.  A Citadel Fantasy Specials peg legged dungeon torturess!  Boo-yaaaa!

Its still hideous.

So my fingers are worn to stumps from copper brushing, but I can rest now that one more thing that's been hovering on my to do list is done!  Of course, the problem with this is that its just created 150 new to paint items and 10 to ebay off items.  Sigh.  This hobby just takes and takes.

Next entry (as soon as I get my camera back) I will be showing off some polished turds as I turn my brush in the goodly direction of a few great fantasy special clerics, female clerics and knights of law!  Plus, them Red orcs are back... and this time they have brought mates.... and Vordak from lone Wolf pops up in a conversion.

Later leadheads!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Convert or die! Chaos Bertha, Modernised Red Goblin, Kill Team Charlie and the Hyperbole Base

First up today is a couple of conversions...

Left. Vintage Chaos warrior.  Right.  Big Bertha.
I always loved the figure to the left, but by the time I was in the hobby he was a faint memory in a citadel journal.  I was rubbing my hands together with glee when I finally found one on ebay.  I was horrified when it arrived badly broken.  Fortunately another appeared in a job lot chaos army I rescued.  Then Big Bertha made the pain all go away with a relaxing night at the sculpting block.

I love converting figures.  I always start with the best intentions.  Fix a weapon, add a little hood... but I always end up going a teensy bit over the top.  I have some converted figures that it would have been just as quick to scratch build.

Kev Adamsified red goblin
This classic fiend factory red goblin (see previous posts) was too near my brand new sculpting block I have made when I needed something to test sculpting on it.  I decided to fix it up a bit.
  I started by grinding off the shield boss to make space for a decorative shield.  To give him a more stooped look I sliced off the head (easy with this old soft alloy) and pinned it further down the chest.  Its amazing how this little change stops the models head looking too long.  A hood was added to exaggerate the hunch.
  I then filed back the fingers and toes slightly and added freshly mixed green stuff putty.  After leaving it to set for a while I poked in the fingers with a dremmel blunted and rounded off xacto knife- my 'Tom Meier tool'.  The blade was filled with milliput so later it can be filed to a flat, sharp blade.  Finally I added the missing eyes and lip, some belt string and a strap for his shield.  The whole job took about ten minutes of actual work, and turned a few cents of figure into a perfectly good dungeon critter!

Converted citadel Fiend Factor Red Orc

Pre-Rogue Trader (Warhammer 40k 1st ed)  C100 Space marines
And the Dave King Hyperbole base.

I was going to call my next trick the Dave king awesome base of utter brilliant awesomeness, but shortened it to the hyperbole base instead.  My new motto for this year is if it is broke, quit winging and fix it, and one thing I whine on about is how lipped bases are great, but impossible to pick up during a game.  This leads to sticky fingers on models, and that just ain't cricket.  But oohh, they look pretty, and the extra size makes for more stable models with more protection against scratching.  Whine, whine, whine.

So I fixed the damned things by making my own.  Taking a regular base, I extended the depth down using plasticard and bevelled this to create a rounded lip just big enough for fingers to find purchase on and fingernails to roll under as you lift.  I then sanded and polished the whole thing shiney smooth and hollowed out the base to create a deeper, wider bowl.

  The deep dish allows for integral bases to sit inside, flush with the lip, deeper scenic features and cappers.  Since I only had a few lipped bases, I decided to cast the cappers separately.  That also means I can make a couple of cappers that have slots already cut, so all I have to do is just fill in the gap.  Rather than cut out custom discs and sculpting the cap onto this, I widened the dish so it would accept Australian 10c coins.  Whenever I feel like making a new cap, I just work on a 10c coin and know its going to fit.  Nice.

The final change was to glue a 10c coin to the bottom of the master to act as a pouring spout.  This means the lip of the base is perfect without having to grind flat.  A quick adventure with Pinkysil and Easycast (Barnes casting supplies) and my first test base was ready a half hour later..

My pre-rogue trader c100 space marine team, (Kill Team Charlie) are my first victims.  I am basing them up for corridor sci-fi skirmish gaming.  I have a few more in the post, and some in the dettol at the moment, and have bravely decided to convert some of my doubles.  I am toying with the idea of making a second team to go up against them using more of my old Rogue Trader, Judge Dredd and Paranoia minis.  However I think these guys may need some retro alien scum to blast away instead.

Well thats me for today.  Later lead heads!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dave finally gets a Chaos Army together

Prepping my HotT army and hunting around for figures it struck me that I had a damn lot of classic Realm Of Chaos minis that I have yet to get around to painting.  I realised I was being a doofus not making an army with them.  A single paint scheme would mean fast strip painting, and would be a glorious thing on the shelf.
The thought boiled around in my head for a while.  The problem is I do not like square bases, and wanted something really different.  I am not a joiner, a fanboy or a conformist.

Some of my old chaos figures.  Preslotta to the front, third compendium slottabase to the back

Frother Spikehead solved it for me. (cheers) He posted up some of Fraser Greys brilliant, gob smackingly good pictures on the Citadel Archive Thread, and I saw how Fraser (who totally was my painting god in the 1990s because of his super smooth style) did his orcs on little raised clumps. I realised I could do the whole army on individual diorama like chunks, mounted on old school plasticard squares- like people did with mdf and card back in pre-slotta days.  The chunk would act like a plinth, so when the figure is on its own attention is drawn to it as an individual piece.  Together, it would move as an army and be tournament legal.  (Not that I ever plan to play.)  It would also mean I could keep all the tabs intact on all the archive figures.

The other problem is that I do not like the mainstream chaos colours, and wanted a non denominational 'chaotic' army.  I already have a red army - my Sisters of Battle.  I also have a lime green shelf of old orcs, and felt that I had done that to death too.  I did not want a pastel army or a neutral metallic one.  I wanted something different...

Here are some pics I have already posted earlier on at my first attempts at the really old stuff.  Again, I wanted non- denominational, but the results where not striking.
Classic Chaos Warriors

Later that day the colour scheme then fell into place.  After a few hours look through old White Dwarf mags with no luck my eye fell on the Eavy Metal Chaos Warrior himself  (the one I lovingly repainted for my blog logo).  Magenta and Blueish green.  Not quite Nurgle, Not quite Khorne, the pinky magenta a little of Slaanesh, the turquoise spot colours a little of T'zeench (Gesundheit.).  Non conformist and old school all in one go!

So here is the test model, backed by some speed painted troops.  This is the least favourite of the chaos warriors, which is why he went first.  That helmet.... uhg.  I will go in and do an NMM style green metal on all of them (starting at the front ranks) and more lavishing of detail when I have time, but I wanted them all mostly done so I had a sense of achievement and could get a feel for how it looks.  I like it so far!

Citadel 1980s Chaos Warrior and his mates

Citadel Chaos Warriors, Champions, Lords and shield maiden.
Mostly Jes Goodwin & Bob Naismith 'Realm of Chaos' Era Citadel
With a few much older ones.
The army is going to be fielded with John Blanche yellow-white demons of all types- bloodletters, Daemonettes and scratch built things.  The banners will all be 1980s style too, and the shields heavy on old school style symbols - swastikas, ying-yang, demon faces, evil moons and so on.

It also gives me an excuse to cut up some old broken chaos warriors and do some Realm of Chaos mutation stupidity!
My lovely wife got me some mounted Chaos Champions and knights from GW for Christmas (how damned nice are those horse!, so they will have to be converted to crapola too!

Now I am daydreaming of having an army consisting of every single chaos warrior ever released.  Can you imagine that?  Hobby heaven!

HotT on the trail: Succubaen Nunnery continues

Stand 1:  Warlord BattleNuns (Reaper)
Stand 2 Converted Warlord figs (Reaper), familiar (Rackham?), 10mm Chaos Beastman (Eureka)
Stand 3, Citadel Dark Elf Prisoner, Anti-Paladin (Reaper), Familiar (Reaper?)
The HotT army continues slowly, as I now need to convert a great deal of the remaining figures to polearms and bows.  Still, I toyed around with a couple of new stands.  I want the army to feel like the Fae world is rupturing through, so I am using 10mm beastmen as tiny little imps running amok around the legs of the wanton devil nuns and their sexy slaves.  I am thinking of switching out those reaper battle nun blades for red hot demonic pokers, complete with braziers strapped to their sides, scorched rips in their clothing and skins.

A motley Crew, Asgard Black Dwarf and friendsElf

Some poncy Elf, Nob the Mercenary, Bird Thing (Chaos Familiar)
The Black Dwarf (Asgard), CP2 -Bryan Ansell's Heroic Adventurers boxed set Cleric
FF5-2 Demon with sword and whip

I thought I would go back to doing some mixed group shots this year.  What a motley crew.

Starting on the left is an experimentation piece, starting with white and working down using thin washes.  Yawn.  I also tried out some NMM since I was trying out new stuff.

Nob got a polish- I worked up flesh tones, but still have not got around to doing his clothes.  He is a citadel mercenary- a variant of the militia figures-  you will find a few with the same body in that line.  Both ranges go for moderately high prices now a days.  You want old school character, this range was a high tide point.

Bird thing is one of my favourite figures of all time.  A classic Jes Goodwin sculpt.

Next up is a real joy for me.  White Dwarfs great cousin, The Black Dwarf.  He is from Asgard miniatures, and from a series of probably the coolest dwarf proportions from that time.  I spotted him back in the 1980s in an 'eavy Metal article by Aly Morrison.  I took the red and black chequered hood and tiger fur from his pic, but went in a different direction with the rest.  God how I loved that figure and poured over that article!  I have about 80% of the figures from that display now, some of which I have painted in the same way to fulfil a childhood whim.  The converted figs may have to be scratch built.  :)

Asgards Black Dwarf- so ahead of its time its breathtaking
This guy is the grand daddy of all Chaos Dwarves.  Look at the poise, the brooding nature, the expression and detail on the shield and that unusual weapon!  Whoever sculpted it (answers in the comments if you know) should be really proud.

Hans - Citadel C26 Feudal  work in progress
I have never really  loved the feudal range to be honest, but am starting to see the character in them now.  This one needs a bit more work, but I like the atmosphere of the piece so far.  All my peasants are getting the drunken Brughel, Gilliamesque 'oh look Dennis theres a lovely bit of filth over here' treatment.

Red Orc Restoration, C29 Creepy Crawlies, Heroquest Undead

Original, cleaned and fully restored painted FF24 Red Orc (aka Red Goblin)
Happy new year lead freaks!
Over the holiday season I got a few nice emails encouraging me to do a lot more stuff this year.  Get that!
So with that in mind I wanted to start the year with a tute.

During the holidays I got stuck into the lead pile and knocked off a few jobs that where bugging me.One of which was some sexily bad Citadel Red Goblins!  That clever son of a gun Beepie (bpi) painted some of these last year so well that it encouraged me to hunt them down on evilbay and get me some retro badness.  The elongated heads and faint eyes make these models look bad to begin with, but as you can see a little love and pow!  Its like Gygax & Dave A. are still alive and rolling up stats.

These old figures can be restored with a dunk in bicarb soda water to halt any potential lead rot, and a gentle working over with a copper brush.   Wear a mask.  I had my lead levels checked this week by my GP, and came up clear.  Yay for me.  Anyway, find a soft copper brush- mine is a cheap BBQ scrubber from the supermarket.  Test it with some gentle brushes and look for scratches, then go for all holy hell.

As usual, I use diluted grey-green miliput brushed on with a cheap brush to fill minute surface cracks.  A quick smooth off with fine sand paper, and a polish with bluetac and you will have a lovely painting surface.

Beepie sanded off his shield bosses so he could paint some insanely small insignia on the shields, and looking at the models I think that's a great idea.  This brings me to my next subject.  Augmentation.

Converting old miniatures feels a bit naughty, I tend to only do this to broken ones, but there is no harm in using a little putty to fix up a figure to modern tastes right?  I call this augmentation, because I am not really converting the figure at all, but it would be wrong to say they are perfect archive pieces.  The orc to the right is my faithful archive model.  The next batch (these figures are dirt cheap because, damn, they are ugly) I am augmenting.

To give an example, the models sword is battered and wonky.  Great for an orc, but most figures from this era suffer the same problem.  Applying freshly mixed milliput grey-green with a moistened card and carving a smooth, sharp edged blade is a great augmentation.  Fingers of this era are often just lines, lacking the comic book knuckles that the early eighties brought that beg for highlighting.  A small amount of greenstuff mixed 8:1 with sculpey a black clay shaper and a little patience can make all the difference.  Speaking of which...

C29 creepy crawlies (beetles, scorpion, unknown chaosy two headed  lizard thing and giant tick)
These bad boys are mostly C29 creepy crawlies.  They have been modernised by gluing on slotta bases and then very carefully sculpting a dungeon floor surface using procreate to hide their integral bases.
Any help identifying the mysterious two headed, one winged chaos snake thing is most welcome!  Really early chaos familiar perhaps?

MB Heroquest plastics.  Yay.
Continuing on the old dungeon theme, I found a bag of unloved Heroquest figures in a flea market a few months back.  By some strange twist of fate, a few months before I discovered a shrink wrapped mint Heroquest box in an bric-a-brac and antiques store not one hundred paces from the same spot!  Tenner.  Bargain.  Its now in my vault...  will be selling that on ebay soon, once the Aussie dollar drops a bit.

I converted the minis by carefully shaving off the plastic base with a razor.  I say carefully, because the plastic used for these is much harder than modern citadel plastics, so does not take stress well.  If you try this, dont cut with something like tin snips, you will get white stress tears and odds are the leg will snap off.  A fresh scalpel and some patience payed off, and I had these, two zombies and five goblins prepped for a little mid week old school insomnia indulgence.
I plan to go back and do some sexy blending later on these, pick out the teeth then varnish the ever living crap out of them for sticky pizza fingered gaming in the near future.  I googled heroquest to see if anyone else had painted their figures recently and to see what they did, and I was really surprised how big a community it still has!  You go Heroquest fans!